Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Goochland is open for business



Matt Ryan, Goochland’s Director of Economic Development, presented his quarterly update to the Board of Supervisors on April 4.

After years of stagnation, the east end of the county is on a roll. In addition to previously announced projects including an Advanced Auto Parts store and rehabilitation hospital, a retirement home, and a high tech golf driving range venue are in the works east of Rt. 288 in the Broad Street Road corridor.

Tuckahoe Pines, a 130 unit upscale retirement home will be in The Notch, opposite the Wawa. The “Drive Shack” golf venue will be located between Richmond Audi, under construction on the north side of Broad Street Road and Interstate 64.They represent an expected investment of more than $150 million and will bring increased property taxes, additional users for the Tuckahoe Creek Service District, and more jobs to the county.

Ryan’s presentations use charts and graphs illustrating hits on the economic development website and other metrics. (See the report, beginning on page 60 of the April 4 board packet, available on the county website http://goochlandva.us/) Goochland, said Ryan, is definitely on the radar screen of regional, state, and national brokers looking at Central Virginia. Given that the county cannot justify the steep admission fee to join the Greater Richmond Partnership, which includes Chesterfield and Henrico, that’s quite a coup.

Location, location, location, as the realtors say, may be part of this. Short Pump is still a hot ticker for economic development, but it’s almost built out, and Goochland is waiting with open arms to take up the slack. Exploiting this advantage is prudent.

Capital investment in Goochland during 2016 hit $87.1 million, up from $29.7 million the previous year. This translates into a better tax base ratio of residential/commercial of 81.4/18.6 percent for 2016. For 2017, the ratio is anticipated to be 80.4/19.6. The long term goal is 70/30.

Since the current supervisors took office in 2012, they have made economic development a priority. Regulations have been streamlined and, in some cases, fees reduced to encourage business activity. At its meeting last week, the Board referred an ordinance amendment to the Planning Commission that, if approved, will make drive through enterprises by-right uses in property zoned for business and commercial use.

For those who fear that all of this accommodation to new development will transform Goochland into the next Chesterfield, relax. The 2035 county comprehensive land use plan—available in its entirety on the county website—shows that 85 percent of Goochland, mostly west of Manakin Road, will remain “rural.” Property east of Manakin Road and north of Route 6, on the other hand, will be developed.

The Economic Development Authority, said Ryan, is developing a set of criteria to deal with increasing loan request. The EDA, whose members are appointed by the supervisors, is an independent organization. It has the statutory ability to grant loans. The EDA is also discussing possible deployment of a local business incubator to help get fledgling enterprises off the ground, and working on an update of its strategic plan. The group expects to hold joint sessions with the supervisors later this year.

Ryan also reported that the EDA sold all of its properties in the Midpoint Industrial Park in Hadensville.

The county’s economic development website, www.goochlandforbusiness.com has been redesigned, explained Ryan. It is a valuable tool in attracting attention of business to Goochland.

Ryan hinted that additional investments in the county may be on the way.





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